Early Warning System

I was giving a course today, and we were discussing: should we do agile release planning at the beginning of the effort?

(Reminder: release planning always also means release plan refactoring every sprint, to whatever degree it is needed.)

My advice is: most teams I see need agile release planning for a day or two before they start sprinting.

(Note: Agile release planning is some contexts might better be called ‘product roadmapping for the next 6 months.’)

But why?  Why agile release planning?  There are many reasons.

One reason: Early Warning System.

The agile release plan can be reflected in a release burndown chart. The release burndown chart can show the team if or when it starts to get into ‘trouble’ versus the stories they expect to deliver in the release.

Knowing that, the team can make adjustments.  They cannot know they are in trouble without an early warning system.  They cannot know if they are performing ‘below expectation’ if they do not set an expectation for themselves.



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